October 4, 2007

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
(File Number 6759)

The Commission commented favorably on the concept design for additions to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, with the exception of the fenestration (window) pattern on the new buildings. The project includes the renovation of existing facilities and construction of two new buildings that will house a new outpatient facility and expanded diagnostic and critical care functions.

Under the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, will close. Military medical services for the National Capital Area will move to a new hospital at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax, Virginia, and to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, which will be renamed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This project only pertains to the Bethesda site.

The Commission required the applicant, the U.S. Department of the Navy, to include the following information with the next submission at the preliminary design stage:
• Revised elevations indicating a more compatible fenestration pattern including dimensions and material notations
• Information on the buildings’ related site features, including lighting (proposed fixtures, locations, and foot-candle levels).
• Samples of the proposed finish materials.
• Completed Environmental Impact Statement, Master Plan, and Transportation Management Plan for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
• A summary of planned staffing and related parking accommodations as determined by the completed Environmental Impact Statement, Master Plan, and Transportation Management Plan.
• Completed Section 106 consultation for the project and a final determination of effect from the Maryland Historical Trust.

The Commission also noted that, as the project develops, the applicant should address comments by affected entities. For example, the Maryland Historical Trust accepted the concept design with regard to location, footprint, and massing but requested that formal Section 106 consultation on the project be initiated as soon as possible. In addition, the environmental effects of the proposed project require additional review, coordination, and compliance with applicable regulations. Areas of potential effect include, but are not limited to, traffic and parking; hazardous materials and waste; construction materials and methods; energy sources; and emissions. The Montgomery County Planning Board has not yet commented on the project. The recommendations of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission are subject to, and contingent upon, the comments of the Planning Board.

Finally, the Commission noted that its final action will take into account the findings of the Environmental Impact Statement as well as the Master Plan and Transportation Management Plan, currently under development.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Federal Office Building Number 8, 200 C Street, SW
(File Number 6611)

The Commission reviewed a revised concept design submitted by the General Services Administration (GSA) for the renovation of Federal Office Building 8, located at 200 C Street, SW. The Commission commented favorably on the concept design with the exception of a proposed security pavilion and perimeter security elements. The Commission noted that the security features do not conform with NCPC’s Urban Design and Security Objectives and Policies (Adopted May 5, 2005), which discourage perimeter security measures in public space. The Commission required GSA to submit an analysis of the security required for this facility. If the security pavilion remains a part of the project, the Commission requires the applicant to reduce its size and minimize its impact on the surrounding public plaza.

The Commission also requiredGSA to submit for Commission review the Third and C Streets Southwest Master Plan for Urban Improvements before submitting the preliminary phase of this project. The Commission reminded the applicant that the scope of the project does not fall within NCPC’s criteria for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and that therefore GSA must submit an environmental assessment before submitting the preliminary phase of this project.

Finally, the Commission reminded GSA that it must consult on the full effects of the project, including the perimeter security, under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Section 106 requires the establishment of an area of potential effect, and the Commission noted that GSA had not considered the L’Enfant Plan or the adjacent buildings at 3rd and C Streets, SW.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Information Presentation
NCPC Briefed on St. Elizabeths Hospital West Campus Master Plan

(File Number MP11)

The Commission reviewed final site and building plans for the Patent Office Building’s reservation landscape, F Street stair reconstruction, security elements, and signs. The Patent Office Building, a National Historic Landmark, houses the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture. The building occupies Reservation 8 in the L’Enfant Plan and is bounded by 7th and 9th Streets, and by F and G Streets, NW.

The Commission commended the Smithsonian Institution for enhancing the Patent Office Building’s façade and reservation, for reconsidering its security requirements in response to previous Commission comments, and removing proposed barriers from public space.

The Commission approved the rehabilitation of the reservation landscape plan; reconstruction of the F Street Stair; and the security elements, which include a new granite wall supporting the historic cast iron fence, two guard booths, and six retractable bollards at the service entrances on the north side of the building.

The Commission noted and approved the completion of a small, permanent exhibit on the history of the building’s architecture and ornamentation, including the installation of a curved segment and urn from one of the historic courtyard’s two original cast iron fountains.

The Commission disapproved fifteen installed and proposed information and program signs, on the sidewalks and attached to the cast iron fence, for the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. The Commission also disapproved the lettering on the building’s exterior at the north and south entrances. Finally, the Commission required the Smithsonian, through Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, to consult with NCPC staff and other review agencies on the installed and proposed signs and lettering and formally submit the proposal to the Commission, as requested at the April 2007 meeting.

The General Services Administration (GSA) is preparing plans for converting the West Campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital into the headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including the U.S. Coast Guard. The St. Elizabeths West Campus includes more than 70 historic buildings.

GSA representatives provided a status report on the development of the project since the Commission’s last briefing in May. GSA is examining two different development alternatives, both of which consist of 4.5 million gross square feet of development plus 1.8 million gross square feet of parking. Current plans call for adaptive use of many of the site’s existing buildings. The presentation included three-dimensional computer modeling that indicated the scale of buildings, based on the projected density at the site.

The Commission does not act on informational presentations. The Commission expects to formally review the preliminary Master Plan for St. Elizabeths Hospital West Campus before the end of the calendar year.

Consent Calendar: The Commission voted on Consent Calendar items without staff presentations or public testimony.

Delegated Decisions: Projects for which the Commission delegated decision-making authority to the Chairman, Executive Committee, or Executive Director.